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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  July 14, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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>> remember, latest news and weather is always on kpix.com. owed by talks between the
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two sides in cairo. the palestinians continued to fire unguided rockets into israel today. and the israelis kept up their aerial assault on gaza. in the past week approximately 180 palestinians have been killed, most of them civilians. no israelis have died. their missile defense system is intercepting many of the palestinian rockets. holly williams is in gaza city. >> reporter: the israeli military says it's been targeting terrorists and their rocket launchers. but when we visited al-shifa hospital today, we found wounded civilians, one of them still in diapers.
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two-year-old hamdan and four- year-old hamada are brothers. they were injured early this morning when an air strike hit their neighbor's house. do you want a cease-fire? >> ( translated ): we want a cease-fire, their mother saddiqa told us, i want israelis and us to both live in peace, but they have to leave us alone. >> reporter: rockets fired by palestinian militants have caused damage and injuries, but no deaths. thanks mainly to israel's iron dome anti-missile defense system which intercepts them. moshir el masri is a spokesman for hamas, the militant group that controls the gaza strip. israel says it can't avoid killing civilians because you put your rocket launchers in civilian areas, in residential areas. are you using people as human shields? >> ( translated ): no, that's a lie, he told us. israel is using it to justify crimes against civilians. >> pelley: holly williams is in
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gaza tonight and because of transmission problems she's n ining us on the phone. holly, what has the reaction been to this proposed cease- fire? >> reporter: well, scott, the militants told us tonight they're studying it, and the israelis will hold a cabinet meeting tomorrow morning to discuss it. but one sign it may succeed is that it's very quiet here tonight. just 48 hours ago there were air strikes hitting, rockets being launched every few minutes, but now both sides seem to be holding back. people here in gaza are sick of the violence and the militants know that. and the israelis don't seem to have an appetite for a long conflict either because although they've threatened a ground invasion, they haven't yet acted on that threat. >> pelley: holly williams, thank you, holly. this evening we're hearing for the first time about allegations that some employees of the department of veterans affairs altered records to make it appear that vets were receiving disability checks faster than they actually were. this comes after investigators
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found that some v.a. employees had cooked the books on wait times for medical visits. a key witness will testify tonight to congress but you are going to hear from her first in this story from wyatt andrews. >> i thought that we were supposed to come help veterans. >> reporter: kristenruell is a whistle-blower that handles compensation claims at the v.a. regional office in philadelphia. in testimony to congress ruell says v.a. employees have been instructed to falsely change the date of when veterans first apply for disability benefits. the idea, she says, is to make the wait times look shorter. she says thousands of vets who may have waited years for a disability decision are reported in the system to have waited weeks. >> it didn't matter, in our office how old the claim was, they didn't want any claims older than a certain date so they would put a memo on the claims so the claims look new. >> reporter: do we have any idea how many veterans this applies to? >> i can say for sure there are thousands that were done in my office.
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>> reporter: ruell says that changing the date hurts the veterans who waited the longest because the oldest claims are supposed to be handled first. >> some of the veterans have died waiting for their claim to be processed and if it has a newer date of claim it's not a priority. >> reporter: the v.a.'s office of inspector general has confirmed her charge of date changing, saying the practice: "makes the average number of days that claims have been pending appear better than it would be." v.a. headquarters has begun an investigation to learn if disability wait times are falsely reported nationwide. in a statement the v.a. promises veterans: "that all claims impacted by this will be identified and corrective action will be taken." ruell's charge of fake wait times for disability sounds close to the now proven charge of fake wait times for health care. and she says it's for the same reason, looking good to line up bonuses. scott, her testimony comes as the v.a. is claiming great
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success in reducing the disability backlog. >> pelley: wyatt andrews in our washington newsroom, thank you. we learned late today about more disturbing discoveries in the way that lethal germs are handled by some national labs. a new investigation says that common kitchen food storage bags were used to transfer hazardous microbes. and a high security refrigerator was found with the key sitting in the lock. dr. jon lapook broke news on this story all week last week and is now back with the latest. jon? >> reporter: scott, just three days ago the c.d.c. issued a report on its investigation into the recent incident where anthrax was mishandled, possibly exposing lab workers to the dangerous organism. now a separate report by the united states department of agriculture has new details about procedures at what is supposed to be a highly secure bio-safety c.d.c. lab. among the problems cited in the u.s.d.a. report, potentially dangerous materials were transferred using ziploc bags that did not meet standards for
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holding dangerous pathogens. anthrax was stored in unlocked refrigerators in an unrestricted hallway. at the time of the u.s.d.a. inspection containers of anthrax were missing and had to be tracked down. disinfectant used to decontaminate vials and bags was expired. asked about today's disclosure the c.d.c. said: "the report identified some procedures which we've already eluded to as being unacceptable and we're moving swiftly to correct." the findings were released as a congressional committee prepares for a hearing this wednesday on this incident and others involving small pox and bird flu that have shown lapses in how dangerous pathogens are handled at the c.d.c. and other government labs. >> pelley: jon, the report today said that ziploc bags were used to carry dangerous materials, were the words that were used. what are we talking about here? >> reporter: we don't exactly know what that means. it's so typical of the murky details that have come out in the last few days. the c.d.c. told me just a few minutes ago that it was not
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aware about the details that were released in the report today. so presumably the dangerous materials meant anthrax, but again with all the changing information, we're going to just have to wait and see. >> pelley: jon, thanks very much. citigroup was fined $7 billion today for its role in the financial meltdown of 2008. the banks sold securities made up of risky subprime mortgages. in an e-mail at the time obtained by the justice department one citigroup trader said he "would not be surprised if half of these loans went down." the fine includes a four and a half billion dollar civil penalty and two and a half billion to help consumers with to lost their homes due to foreclosure. six years after the meltdown vincente arenas tells us just how many homeowners are still struggling. >> reporter: there are nine million americans who still owe more on their mortgages than what their homes are worth. foreclosures in the miami area cut the value of raquel salazar's home by 60%.
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>> it's been a long and tedious nightmare. >> reporter: a nightmare? >> oh, yes, it has been a nightmare. to feel that you don't know if are you going to be kicked out of your home from one day to the next, you just, you are in limbo. >> reporter: her $4,600 a month mortgage became unaffordable when her insurance business slowed down and income dropped. lenders wouldn't refinance the brtgage because her home's value kept falling. >> reporter: you were behind four years in payments. >> four years. >> reporter: owed more than $100,000 in debt. you were about to lose your home? >> yes. and trying to work with these banks all this time. >> reporter: in february, salazar finally enrolled in a federal program to help homeowners such as her. the government estimates at least 82,000 people in florida remain eligible. what was it like to know that you were going to get a modified loan? >> oh my god, i started crying and just crying of exhilaration. i felt like, you know, i had an
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angel just fall from the sky. >> reporter: 4.5 million people have received mortgage help in the two federal programs known as hamp and harp. but another million are still eligible. so the programs have been extended. counselors tell us homeowners are confused by the program. all those rules, all that paperwork. and scott, it is going to take raquel salazar 40 years to pay off her loan. >> pelley: nine million mortgage holders underwater, used to be 13 million. a little bit of progress, vincente, thanks very much. more severe weather is in the forecast tonight from nashville to new york city, this follows a stormy weekend. in ohio, mobile homes were tossed around at a campground. a tornado hit upstate new york. soaking rains left some neighborhoods underwater, and a lightning bolt struck just a few feet from where a couple was sitting on a park bench. eric fisher is the chief meteorologist at our cbs boston
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station wbz. eric, this is quite a weather system. what is coming next? >> scott, a lot of folks are just talking about how chilly it is here in the heart of summer. already making its presence felt along the upper midwest. it is great leaf peeping weather except for the fact it is only the middle of july. and this colder air moves farther southward tomorrow, as far south as tennessee and arkansas and down to oklahoma, and by wednesday well below average temperatures coming all the way down into the deep south and for much of the east coast. look at the high temperatures tomorrow, as warm as it gets, 60s in minneapolis-- we have the all star game it will feel like playoff baseball-- only the 50s in marquette, 60s in detroit as well. so well below average temps, when they run up the heat and humidity you have severe weather. a lot of severe storms, flash flooding, already ongoing this evening, more tomorrow. the 95 corridor from new england right on down through new york, baltimore into eastern north carolina, an elevated flash flooding risk, also some isolated tornadoes and damaging winds in many of those storms. we will see more of the same on wednesday. now the tail end of all this colder air we look towards the four corners, and the monsoon season very busy, today, tomorrow, into wednesday, we'll see more areas of flash flooding, some isolated severe
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storms here. goes through wednesday and dryer for late week. scott, overall this pattern starts to run out of gas as we head toward friday. in fact, it may flip all together as we head into next week. >> pelley: eric fisher of wbz, eric, thanks very much. new evacuations have been ordered in northern california where a wildfire has been burning since friday. 18 buildings have been destroyed. the fire in shasta county has burned more than seven square miles and it's just 15% contained. investigators say it was sparked by truck exhaust at an illegal marijuana farm. the driver was arrested on saturday. today marks three months since the islamic militant group boko haram kidnapped more than 200 girls from their school a crime that has generated worldwide condemnation. deborah patta has the latest on what's being done to free the girls. >> reporter: the girls were last seen in this video hidden deep
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in the forest of nigeria. now a veteran hostage negotiator hired by the nigerian government tells us the girls may have been split into at least three groups and taken out of the country. we can't tell you the negotiators name, because he is still meeting with boko haram militants am but he told us imagine the worst and it has happened. he believes many of the girls have been raped and some may be pregnant. >> bring back our girls! >> reporter: families of the missing school girls have been waiting for three long months for any news of this also. soon after the kidnapping the girls were the focus of a global social media campaign, but the attention has faltered as the trail has gone cold. this weekend a new video was released by boko haram mocking the bring back our girls campaign. the group's leader vowed to continue its terror attack. according to several sources involved in the negotiations, a deal releasing the girls in exchange for jailed boko haram
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fighters has been close three times but each time the deal fell apart at the last minute, with both sides blaming the others. a prison swap seems unlikely the negotiator told us because there are fears it could encourage d,ko haram to kidnap more girls in the future. instead, scot, the nigerian government is trying to cut off boko haram's finances in order to halt the terror campaign. >> pelley: deborah patta, thanks, deborah. how do you refloat a ship that's two-and-a-half times heavier than the titanic? we'll show you. and beach-goers come under attack from above. when the "cbs evening news" continues.
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>> pelley: two and a half years after it struck a reeve off the italian island of giglio the costa concordia was refloated today and it wasn't easy. the luxury liner weighs more than 114,000 tons. here's mark phillips. >> almost imperseptably, visible only when speeded up the rusk: -- rusting hulk of the costa concordia began to stir. and this ship on which 32 people died seemed to come back to life. afloat again and towed just offshore. yet the director of this massive operation nick showne told me these things never go exactly as planned. >> the way we're going to do it, and how it was meant to
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be done is not what happened today. >> it isn't? how is it different? >> well,-- . >> reporter: the ship was refloated with the use of 30 steel flotation chambers attached along their broken hull. when air was pumped in they agoed like a child's water wing. it's taken a billion and a half dollars to get the cost ar concordia this far. the final bill will top $2-- 2 billion. and the italians say it's all the fault and the italians say it's all the fault of the ship's captain francesco schettino who is still on trial for manslaughter and abandoning the ship when he crashed into the shoreline. the costa concordia is afloat again two and a half years later and with a lot of help that brown line near the surface was underwater just a day ago. now though comes the hard part, towing this wreck 200 miles across the open ocean toward genoa. once there she will be broken up for scrap and nick showne having refloated a ship will try to refloat his life.
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>> time to go home. act like a father, drive the kids to school, walk the dogs, mow the lawn. >> reporter: and not think about getting big ships off the bottom of the sea. >> not for a while, no. >> reporter: this chapter of the costa concordia tragedy is finally coming to an end. mark phillips, cbs news, giglio, italy. >> pelley: why is this young man smiling? we'll show you in a moment. n a moment.
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>> pelley: nadine gordimer was a white south african who wrote about the injustices endured by blacks under apartheid. gordimer was an early supporter of nelson mandela the prisoner who would later become president. three of her novels were banned in south africa but she had a worldwide following and won the nobel prize in literature in 1991. nadine gordimer died yesterday in johannesburg. she was 90. beach-goers came under attack in central russia over the weekend when hailstones shot from the sky. swimmers ran from the river and took cover as best they could. children screamed as the hail pounded them but no one was seriously hurt. the air temperature dropped 30 degrees in just a few minutes. now celebrity sightings in omaha, yes, that's warren buffett, not that surprising, omaha is his hometown.
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but look who's with him, paul mccartney, the beatle and the businessman had dinner last night. and this is tom white, a new celebrity after friends snapped the photo and posted it on-line. we like tom's t-shirt it says find your anchor. amy van dyken rouen was a role model as an olympian. she becomes one again as she faces a new challenge. her story is next. faces a new challenge. her story is next.
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weather talent appears at wx center with generic pinpoint filling monitor then we take special >> pelley: finally tonight, it's been just over five weeks since former olympic swimmer amy van dyken rouen suffered a severe spinal injury in an atv accident it changed her life forever but not her attitude about how to live it. barry petersen has her story. >> just the main course or the whole meal. >> reporter: on her first trip to a grocery store to learn how to shop in a wheelchair, it is clear there is only one word to describe amy van dyken rouen: irrepressible. it's another moment of progress. >> yes. >> reporter: you feel good about this? >> yeah, especially because i can reach the top stuff without having to ask anybody. >> and another word discipline. >> come on, legs. >> the kind it took a kid with asthma to train and win six olympic swimming gold medals, the kind it takes to create a
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new life with husband tom after an atv accident a month ago left her a paraplegic, a new life she calls scary but fun. you use the word "fun" which doesn't really come to mind. why fun for you? >> it has to be fun this is my new life. i have no other choice. this is what has happened to me. i'm a paraplegic. i had fun before in my life. this new life has to be fun as well. so fun, fun it is. >> reporter: where did the nerve system that gets severed. >> it's right in here. >> reporter: spinal cord specialist mark joe hansen is amy's doctor. there may be improvement in the months ahead, but he also had a medical reality check. >> she can't necessarily affect that just by her own sheer will. like i said, if she could, her spinal cord would be healed by now. >> reporter: she would have walked out already. >> i think she would. if it were that simple. >> reporter: her goal now is
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that her new life helps others. already paraplegics have sent messages saying she is an inspiration to their own healing. she hopes to walk one day, some day. >> i remember my old life. and i remember being able to walk an run and wear high heels and be fabulous. but you know what, i can still wear high heels in this chair, they just won't hurt my feet. >> reporter: and you'll still be fabulous? >> i will still be fabulous, absolutely! >> reporter: and fabulous she is. >> i did it! yay! >> reporter: barry petersen, cbs news, denver. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night.
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big-name retailers are feelg the pinch... and it only ses to be getting worse. good evening, i'm ken high end headaches from construction to flooding to big name retailers who are feeling 2 pinch. i am ken bastida. >> i'm veronica de la cruz. phil matier is live in the middle of the mess. phil. >> reporter: that's right. just take a look behind me. this is once the most fashionable shopping strip in crabtree. and now it's turned into one heck of a construction headache. here is the story. >> from gucci, apple, digging for the new we central subway has turned san francisco's union square to the most expensive construction site on the west coast. also, the noisiest and most congested.
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>> i used to take 20 minutes to get to san mateo. now, trying to find a place to park and get around town is impossible. >> the headache got even big over the weekend when workers broke a city water line flooding the basements of top line stores damaging merchandise and forcing some to close. >> they are still gathering information. >> the pipe break however, is just the late nest a series of headaches brought on by the $1.3 billion dig. >> it is definitely hurting. the customer taco bell comes down to san francisco, they like to move around freely. when they see the construction, the noise, the dust, it just takes away from the city. >> so farrings about the best the city can do is try to get the job done asap. >> do you understand this is short term pain for long term gain. >> but can the merchants handle the pain? >> how much is rent down here? >> oh, a lot. maybe the highest rent in the country. >> this, at a time when super bowl burr p ban malls are startio

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